Thursday, November 11, 2010

Southward Bound

It felt great to get back on the road - it made the trip feel like it was really still going on. We have to be flexible, and we have to keep Network-IT healthy and strong, but we also want to finish what we've started, and see the rest of this enormous country! Nancy will stay home another week, flying down to meet me in South Carolina on Sunday.

So I put in a couple of 250 mile days, stopping first in Glasgow, Delaware, at a nice little State Park called Lums Pond. It was like driving back in time, as most of the trees still had their leaves, and some of the maples were in full color. There was a nice trail around the pond so we had a nice walk, the dogs and I. At one point I became aware of a building noise. It sounded like a distant crowd, or a large machine. We kept walking and gradually out of the din I was able to perceive individual chirps - it was a large flock of migrating grackles, gathering for their flight south. We walked right below them, saw them flitting from branch to branch. Then, suddenly, as if somehow every bird was responding to the same cue, they went silent and took flight! As they wheeled away in a group, perhaps 10,000 of them, silence returned to the wood, and it was immediately evident just how loud thousands of little chirps, combined, can be.

The next drive took me through the eastern bit of Maryland, across Chesapeake Bay at Annapolis, and skirting Washington D.C. to the east, ending up just south of Richmond, Virginia. Pocahontas State Park is great: big, private campsites, lots of trees, nice gravel camp picnic areas (as opposed to the sand, dirt and grass at most campgrounds). I camped at site #88, the deepest into the park, and no other campers are within sight. The dogs can be free in camp, which is so nice for all of us. But the trails are really what made my visit here memorable. Not only is there a huge network of multi-use trails, but there are two separate mountain-bike specific trail networks, 20 miles worth. These trails were built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers, and it shows. Awesome flow from turn to turn, some nice banked corners, a couple of little jumps, log piles, and log rides. Mostly it was just sweet, flowing singletrack. Most of the trail was very smooth, very few roots, and even fewer rocks. The rocky sections were labeled "expert": when they grow up they hope to move to Connecticut and become real rock gardens! I went for two rides during the day that I was there, and I loved it.

Here is our camp at Pocahontas:

Here I ride one of the few skinny logs:

And here is Toby while out on our hike:

South again today, into North Carolina.

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